MARIANNA, AR (WMC-TV) - With the American flag draped over his coffin, First Lieutenant Tyler Parten was given a hero's homecoming Thursday in his hometown.
"It takes an event like this to bring people together, and that's what's happened," James Davis said.
The U.S. Department of Defense says that 1st Lt. Tyler Parten died Sept. 10 in the Kunar province after insurgents attacked his unit with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire.
"Tyler was not attacked,'" said his brother, Daniel Parten. "My brother took the fight to the enemy and it was successful."
Parten's reputation as a role model goes beyond his military service. At home, he was known for his love of life, music and friendship and family.
Mourners packed the courthouse square in downtown Marianna for the memorial Thursday.
"He was able to love unconditionally and put his faith in God in every step he took," said his sister, Anna Laura Partel.
"He was he was such a smart wonderful young man," family friend B.J. McClendon added. "He was my son's best friend in life."
Loved ones say they do not grieve for Tyler Parten, but instead grieve for those he left behind, because they say he died doing what he loved to do.
Family members added that Parten possessed both the military and spiritual training to understand his purpose in life and in death.
Thursday, the Army honored Parten with a bronze star, a purple heart, and a global war on terrorism medal.